Several complaints of Internet and telephone fraud have been made to the Manitoulin OPP over the last few months.
John Hill, the Manitoulin OPP Community Safety Officer says since October 1st their office has received 12 complaints of Internet and telephone fraud.
He says some of the frauds involve romance, sextortion, and even job scams.
Hill emphasizes everyone should be suspicious of any caller who asks for personal or banking information and under no circumstances send anyone money unless you have personally met and know the person involved and are 100 percent sure they are who they say they are.
He adds if anyone encounters such a call or Internet request, notify your local police service or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre right away.
Hill adds it is important for the public to be aware of schemes that are being used to defraud and/or extort money from them.
Here are a few current examples from Manitoulin OPP:
- Sextortion – it occurs when you are lured into an online relationship through a social media site, such as Instagram or Snapchat. As the relationship builds, you are encouraged to use the computer’s camera to perform a sexual act. You are then told the event was recorded and you must pay money, or the video will be released publicly or sent to a list of friends.
- Facebook Job Scam – this occurs when you respond to a telework job posting on Facebook that appears legitimate. You even attend a telephone interview for the position and are thrilled to get the job. The employer then asks you to purchase a pre-paid gift card, such as iTunes, for a client. They promise to reimburse you, but the goal is to defraud you.
- Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) Scams – occur when you receive a call or text message from CRA. They may create a story to get you to confirm your Social Insurance Number or demand you pay them, or they will call the police. They will request payment with an online currency, such as Bitcoin, or with pre-paid gift cards, such as iTunes.
- Overpayment Scam – the scammer agrees to purchase something you are selling online. They send a cheque for more than the asking price. They ask you to deposit the cheque and then pay them back the difference. They are hoping you do this before your bank realizes the cheque from them is fake.
- Romance Scam – scammers target vulnerable people who may be lonely. They gain trust by creating a fictitious relationship and then ask for money for medication, a sick family member, surgery, mortgage payments, rent, or an airline ticket so they can visit. The person they are communicating with is NOT who they say they are.
How to protect yourself:
- Deny any request to perform an illicit act over the internet and carefully consider who you are sharing explicit videos and photographs with.
- No legitimate agency will request payment by wire transfer, online currency such as bitcoin, pre-paid credit cards or gift cards such as Google Play or iTunes.
- Never give your Social Insurance Number (SIN), credit or baking information to anyone over the phone or email.
- Beware of phishing. Emails claiming to be from a reputable company or friend may be from a scammer. Check the actual email address and/or telephone number to determine if it is legitimate before providing personal information or sending money. Do not click on any links they send!
- Stay calm. The scammer will present you with a situation that is either very serious or needs immediate attention. They will use limited information about you, such as your name and address to convince you they are who they say they are. These are tactics frequently used in scams.
Hill adds if you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, you can call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or your nearest police authority and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at http://www.antifraudcentre.ca